|Photo Credit: Pro Football Hall of Fame|
1. Troy Aikman
Aikman was the number one overall pick for the 1989 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and played 12 consecutive seasons as quarterback of the team. During his career, he was a six-time Pro-Bowl Selection, led the team to three Super Bowl victories, and was the Super Bowl XXVII MVP. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and the College Football Hall of Fame in December of 2008.
2. Bruce Smith
Smith was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the first pick of the 1985 NFL Draft. In his 19 NFL seasons as a defensive end with the Bills and the Washington Redskins, Smith played 279 games, with 200 sacks, two interceptions, 46 forced fumbles, and 15 fumble recoveries. He was named All-Pro nine times and was elected to the Pro Bowl every year from 1987 to 1998 (with the exception of 1991). Smith was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 -- his first year of eligibility.
3. John Elway
In the 1983 NFL Draft, Elway was picked number one overall by the Baltimore Colts. He was later traded to the Broncos where he spent his entire professional career. Elway recorded the most victories by a starting quarterback at the time of his retirement in 1999. Elway led his team to six AFC Championship games and five Super Bowls -- winning his last two. He has one of the best winning percentages in league history (148-82-1) and is tied for the second most Pro Bowl selections for a quarterback at nine. On September 13, 1999, Elway's number seven jersey was retired by the Denver Broncos and he was inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004-- his first year of eligibility.
4. Earl Campbell
Campbell was the first overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, who signed the running back to a six-year, $1.4 million contract. He is one of four Heisman Trophy winners to have been chosen first overall in the NFL draft. Campbell is widely acknowledged for being one the best power backs in NFL history. Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame defensive tackle Joe Greene claimed that Campbell could inflict more damage on a team than any other back he ever faced. On July 27, 1991, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
5. Lee Roy Selmon
In the 1976 NFL Draft, Selmon was the first overall pick and first ever pick for the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his first year he won the team's Rookie of the Year and MVP honors. Selmon went to six straight Pro Bowls and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979. A back injury sidelined and ended his career in 1984 and the Bucs retired his number 63 jersey in 1986. He is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame and was the first player to be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor in November 2009. Selmon was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
6. Terry Bradshaw
Bradshaw was the first player selected in the 1970 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers drew the first pick after winning a coin toss against the Chicago Bears -- both went into the draft with 1-13 records. He played 14 seasons with the Steelers, won four Super Bowl titles -- becoming the first quarterback to win three and four Superbowls --, and led the Steelers to eight AFC Central Championships. Bradshaw was a tough competitor, had a powerful arm, and called most of the plays on the field. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989 -- his first year of eligibility.
7. O.J. Simpson
Simpson was drafted by the AFC's Buffalo Bills -- who had the first pick in the 1969 AFL-NFL Common Draft. He was the first professional football player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season -- a mark he set in 1973. While six other players have passed the 2,000 rush yard mark, Simpson is the only player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a 14-game season. He was named the NFL Player of the Year in 1973 and played in six Pro Bowls. Simpson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985 -- his first year of eligibility.
8. Ron Yary
Yary was the first overall pick of the 1968 NFL draft to the Minnesota Vikings becoming the first offensive linemen to be selected first overall. He played from 1968 to 1981 with the Vikings and in 1982 with the Los Angeles Rams. He was named All-Pro for six consecutive seasons, was 2nd Team All-Pro in 1970 and 1977, and was an All-NFC choice from 1970 through 1977. Yary played in seven consecutive Pro Bowls and was a major force in a Minnesota team that was highly successful throughout the 1970s. In addition to his All-Pro Honors, he was voted the NFC Offensive Lineman of the year three times by the NFLPA. Yary was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
9. Buck Buchanan
Buchanan was the first player selected in the 1963 AFL Draft to the Kansas City Chiefs. The defensive tackle played 182 career games including a string of 166 straight. Buchanan was named to his first AFL All-Star game in 1964 -- the first of an eight-season period in which he played in either the AFL All-Star game or the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl. He earned All-AFL honors from 1966 to 1969 and then won All-AFC honors in 1970 and 1971. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1990.
10. Paul Hornung
After graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in Business, Hornung was drafted first overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 1957 NFL Draft. While playing the halfback and kicker positions, Hornung led the league in scoring from 1959 to 1961. During the 1960 season -- the last with just 12 games -- he set an all-time record by scoring 176 points. Considered by many as the best short-yardage runner ever to play the game, Hornung was voted as the league's MVP twice, was chosen as an All-Pro twice, and played in the Pro-Bowl twice. He is only one of five players to win the Heisman and the NFL's MVP honors. He currently holds the record for most games with 30+ points (2), the most games with 25+ points (3), and the most game with 13 points in a season (8 games in 1960). Hornung is also the oldest player to score five touchdowns in a single game at 29 years, 354 days. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
11. Chuck Bednarik
Bednarik was the first player drafted in the 1949 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles -- starring on both the offense and defense. He was a member of the Eagles' NFL Championship teams in 1949 and 1960. A tough and highly effective tackler, he is known for knocking Frank Gifford of the New York Giants out of football for over 18 months in one of the most famous tackles in NFL history. He was also extremely durable, missing only three games in his 14 season career. Bednarik was named All-Pro eight times and was the last of the NFL's "Sixty Minute Men"-- players who played both offense and defense on a regular basis. Bednarik's number 60 jersey has been retired by the Eagles and he was one of the first to be inducted into the Eagle's Honor Roll. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 -- his first year of eligibility.
12. Charley Trippi
Trippi was the first overall pick in 1945 NFL Draft to the Chicago Cardinals. The halfback is known for his magnificent performance in the 1947 NFL Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He totaled 206 yards -- including 102 yards on two punt returns -- on an icy field in Chicago. He also scored two touchdowns on a 44-yard run and a 75-yard punt return. He is the only player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame to have 1,000 yards receiving, 1,000 yards passing, and 1,000 yards rushing. Trippi was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968.
13. Bill Dudley
Dudley was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1942 NFL Draft. During the 1942 season, he led the league in rushing with 696 yards on 162 carries leading to a spot on the All-Pro team. During his career, he had 3,057 rushing yards, 1,383 receiving yards, 7,304 punting yards, 23 interceptions, 44 touchdowns, and 33 field goals. He was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966.